I’m a firm believer in those very first thoughts that gallop through the mind, those first impressions and intuitions of a situation or person. When I first walked into Simone Harouche’s studio space in LA, I was surprised by her quiet demeanor. I’m not sure what I was expecting… as we all know expectations can be a fickle business… but I was surprised in the best way possible. This woman exuded confidence in the most humbled manner, so light on her feet it was if she was floating around the room. It was awe-striking, really. She was hard at work (as was her team) and stopped only when I asked for her to stand here or sit there. I immediately respected her work ethic and focused energy. Her sister, (an integral part of the company), sat at one of the desks, dressed in a long Indian gauze dress, the two of their energies filling up the room with beauty and attentive detail. I’m always drawn to the stories behind the curtains, what drove Simone to create the life she wanted… to go out on a limb and give it her best shot. Travel to a country she had never been to before and put her heart into everything she tackled until her vision was into complete fruition. As we talked, it all became clear… her love for India, and how she started her bag line, Simone Camille. We are so excited to have collaborated with Simone, her beautiful collection of bags for Free People found here.
Simone Harouche is an immensely inspirational woman; a devoted mother; a wife that values her own time with family; an owner of her own businesses (yes, more than one). With wise words to give on careers and up-and-coming designers trying to make it within such a competitive market… “Do not give up. Be persistent and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. And most importantly — don’t ever say no to things you think might be beneath you… You have to pay your dues to get anywhere in this world!”
Thank you, Simone, for inspiring us all to reach for whatever our dreams may be.
Hi Simone! Tell me about making your first bag. Your experience, the feeling… how it became a future career for you…
I initially had no intention of starting a handbag line when I made my first bag. I just envisioned something in my mind and being a stylist and costume designer — this happens a lot — I usually will just end up making it. I just wanted something different and unique, something colorful and special. Something comprised of vintage fabrics and textiles from my collection of fabrics I had acquired from my own travels.
You source your fabrics from India. Do you travel there yourself and choose which pieces will be a part of the next collection?
I have been to India a few times to source fabric. It’s such a surreal and magical place. I love to find any reason to go there… So I do go and source materials, but I have also met many people there who deal specially in vintage textiles, so whenever I am in need of more fabric or inspiration, I call them up and they send me photos and catalogs of inventory to choose from.
Tell me about your love for India…. What makes it so special?
I just think India is such an intense and magical place. There is nowhere else on earth like it. The first time I went, it was like I had landed on Mars. It creates incredible sensory stimulation; the smells, the colors, the sounds… To understand and love India is to experience it first-hand.
You still work as a fashion stylist… How does one job affect/influence the other?
I think being a fashion stylist, I am constantly inspired, which ultimately flows into my work as a designer. For one, I am always in contact with all the newest trends and runway pieces and I get inspired by seeing all these beautiful clothes… Second, as a stylist, my projects change weekly, from a throwback magazine editorial inspired by the 1960s to a futuristic Sci-Fi music video… So I am constantly researching and discovering new things — which ultimately inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing.
What have been your most important lessons in each of these careers?
I think there have been lots of lessons but the 2 major ones I like to remember are:
– When one door closes, it’s not the end of the world… Ultimately all things that have come to an end (even If I didn’t understand at first) have all been meant to be so that more important things could come to fruition.
– Taste and fashion is subjective. Not everyone is going to like everything I do. But as long as I give it my all, and I’m happy with the results, that’s all that matters. It’s just clothes, I’m not curing cancer — so don’t take things so seriously and ENJOY it!
What does your perfect day off look like….
Spending time with my husband and my baby boy.
Favorite spots to eat/visit/shop/ in L.A?
Vintage – Resurrection
Just one eye
Joan’s on 3rd
Asanebo (for sushi )
Nate n Als (good classic Jewish deli)
Madeo (yummy Italian)
Something you have always wanted to learn…
How to surf.
Greatest achievement to date…
My son, Dashiel.
When are you happiest?
With my family, on a beach vacation.
What are your future goals?
I’m not much of a future planner. I like to live in the moment. You never can plan for life’s surprises.
What one piece of advice would you give to up-and-coming designers out there?
Do not give up. Be persistent and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. And most importantly — don’t ever say no to things you think might be beneath you… You have to pay your dues to get anywhere in this world!
What is your favorite bag you currently make?
I am so into backpacks right now! Any one of the Simone Camille backpacks.
Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic with a mix of Vintage & Rock n Roll edge.
Thank you so much Simone… for opening the doors of this beautiful space and sharing your incredible creations!
Thank you!!!! Xo